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Measles outbreak limited to small network, say Vancouver health officials

23 February 2019

"Because of the persistence of those low levels of immunization, we are absolutely at risk for having a significant outbreak".

CBC reported this week that the man whose family is at the centre of Vancouver's measles outbreak said he didn't vaccinate his children because he distrusted the science at the time.

When an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes, the virus spreads through the air and can survive in small droplets in the air for several hours.

There have been nine confirmed cases in Metro Vancouver that began after an unvaccinated Canadian child contracted the virus on a family trip to Vietnam.

Measles is a highly contagious airborne viral infection that spreads by coughing and sneezing.

John Wiesman, the secretary of the state Department of Health, said in a news conference before Wednesday's hearing that the legislative efforts are "about keeping our kids safe from unnecessary diseases".

"With the frightening resurgence of measles in Vancouver, it wasn't a choice anymore, is was a moral obligation to public safety", Bisset said of her decision to get immunized.

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The number of people with measles held steady at 67 on Tuesday, but Clark County Public Health has identified more potential locations where people might have been exposed to measles.

"As you know, measles is endemic in other parts of the world, and people travel", said Mema. Since the 1960s, two doses of the measles vaccine have been given to young children to prevent the disease, which causes symptoms ranging from pneumonia to vision loss, and even death.

When you have a herd immunity of 95 per cent it certainly gives protection to vulnerable people such as our babies and our elderly or those who are too sick to be vaccinated. "There have been studies that have shown that it alienates more people and it makes people less willing to be immunized when they feel they're being forced to do it". "Parents are endangering their children and others by choosing not to vaccinate".

In Ontario, vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella is required by law for all children attending school, although parents can seek an exemption on religious or conscientious grounds.

Stefania has done a series of media interviews asking the BC NDP government to make vaccinations mandatory - at least for school-aged children. Adults born after 1957 who have no history of vaccination are recommended to receive one dose of MMR.

"I think youth have adapted along with the Internet and have a better sense of which sources are reliable, and with so much information there now, can compare information easily", she said.

Measles outbreak limited to small network, say Vancouver health officials